A subject of great taboo
75% of today's European population in New Caledonia (the Caldoches) are descendants of these prisoners. The penal colony was a subject never broached. It was almost completed razed in 1933 and was not opened or visited until 1994. A great divide had grown up between the descendants of the original prisoners and the 25% Europeans who had come to New Caledonia as free citizens. Inter-marriage was formally forbidden and many a bloody fight flew up in the face of the past. "My grandfather was not a straw-hat!" would come the calls of new generations defending their roots. (Straw hats was the term used for prisoners as this is what they wore to work under the heat of the sun.)
Today, one can visit what remains of the penal colony with the help of a guide. Asked who comes to visit the prison and museum, the answer is Japanese tourists or people who've come for a short stay (teachers, military, administrators). The Caledonians? Very few.